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KUALA LUMPUR – UMNO and the Barisan Nasional (BN) government are always close to the people on a continuous basis unlike the opposition which only get down on the ground to meet the people seasonally.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said UMNO, which is the backbone of the BN government, had helped the people in various matters including providing subsidy to ease the living cost of the people.

“Among the subsidies are health services where patients need to pay the minimum cost of RM1 only, housing scheme which facilitates house purchases for the medium and low-income group through the People’s Housing Project (PPR), and the Federal Territory Affordable Homes or known as RUMAWIP and various facilities for the people,” said Najib, who is also UMNO president.

He said this in his speech before launching the programme “UMNO Bantu Rakyat” (UMNO Helps The People) organised by the UMNO Welfare Bureau at the Sekolah Kebangsaan (SK) Taman Kosas, Ampang near here, last night.

Also present were UMNO Secretary-General, Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor, Selangor UMNO Liaison chairman Tan Sri Noh Omar, and UMNO Welfare Bureau chairman who is also UMNO Supreme Council member Datuk Dr Shamsul Anuar Nasarah.

Najib said UMNO would begin a national tour to get closer to the people and offer aid to the poor and the needy group, the aged and the disabled people.

“I want UMNO members to organise strategies by going down to meet the people and offering welfare aid through the organisation of various community programmes…UMNO is always concerned about the needs of the people who only speak and spread slanders without having any clear direction,” he said.

Meanwhile, Datuk Dr Shamsul Anuar Nasarah said the UMNO Welfare Bureau (BIKUM) would begin the national tour series beginning tomorrow by going to Perak on its mission to get closer to the people.

“It involves 35 four-wheel-drive vehicles which will go to all the states and the convoy will bring along aid and contributions specially for the needy group.

“Among the aid to be given out are daily necessities such as food items besides 300 special hampers at all UMNO divisions visited,” he said.

– Bernama

PUTRAJAYA – Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak will make a three-day working visit to Saudi Arabia beginning May 20 to participate in the Arab-Islamic-US Summit at the invitation of King Salman Abdulaziz Al-Saud.

A Foreign Ministry statement said the summit, scheduled for May 21, was being convened at the initiative of Saudi Arabia and coincided with the state visit of United States President Donald Trump to Saudi Arabia.

“The Minister of Culture and Information of Saudi Arabia and special envoy to King Salman Abdulaziz, Dr Awwad Saleh Al-Awwad, extended the invitation during his visit and courtesy call on the Prime Minister in Putrajaya on May 11,” it said.

The ministry said Najib would be accompanied by Defence Minister and Minister with Special Functions in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein and Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Jamil Khir Baharom, as well as senior government officials.

In addition to attending the summit, Najib was also scheduled to attend the inauguration of the Global Centre for Combating Extremist Ideology at Mu’tamarat, Nasiriyah in Riyadh, it said.

“Malaysia is expected to play a major role in the development of the centre.

“This is a recognition not only by Saudi Arabia but the wider world of the active and important role that Malaysia plays in the global effort to combat terrorism,” it added.

The ministry said that on the final day of the visit, Najib was expected to have an audience with King Salman Abdulaziz, Crown Prince Mohammad Naif Al-Saud and Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman Al-Saud.

“These meetings will provide the opportunity for both sides to discuss bilateral and regional issues of common interest,” it added.

Malaysia and Saudi Arabia were working closely to promote peace, stability and security in the Islamic world and beyond, it said.

The ministry said Najib’s visit to Saudi Arabia would enhance these efforts as well as further strengthen bilateral relations.


KUALA LUMPUR – Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak has repeated his confidence that Malaysia will receive enormous benefit from China’s One Belt One Road (OBOR) initiative.

He said this was due to the existence of interconnection, especially between China and Central Asia, China and Europe, China and Southeast Asia, as well as between China and East Africa.

“Just imagine (the benefit of) the Belt and Road network, which is a large-scale and comprehensive. It will definitely give a boost to the development of various sectors and industries, hence generate bigger growth through good infrastructure as the catalyst,” he said in his latest blog post at http://www.najibrazak.com here yesterday.

Najib said through the initiative, transportation and movement of goods would be much easier and cheaper and would also enable local entrepreneurs to penetrate a larger market.

“Insya-Allah (God willing), with the concept of shared prosperity and win-win situation, I believe Malaysia, as well as other countries, will be able to realise its potential under the ‘One Belt, One Road’ initiative,” he said.

OBOR initiative was mooted by President Xi Jinping of China as a development strategy that focuses on connectivity and cooperation among countries. It is also to boost trade between the countries by providing infrastructure such as ports, railways and expressways.

In the blog posting, Najib also summed up the success of his five-day visit to China, which began last Friday, including the signing of nine Business-to-Business Memoranda of Understanding in various sectors, including construction, agriculture, financial market, infrastructure and investment cooperation worth US$ 22.7 billion or approximately RM31.26 billion.

He said most of the projects would be implemented in Malaysia, including the Robotic Future City on a 1,000 acres (404.6ha) site in Johor Bahru, which involves an investment of more than RM15 billion and would include a holistic development in terms of research and development, manufacturing, education, services, and exhibition centre.

“Sabah and Sarawak have also benefited from this visit. In Sarawak, a joint-venture factory producing methanol and derivatives between Sarawak Bumiputera Property Foundation, Consortium of Huanhqiu Contracting & Engineering Co. and MACFEAM Sdn Bhd will be built at a cost of RM2 billion and is estimated to be completed in 2021.

“In Sabah, a cooperation agreement to develop The Shore worth US$ 132.58 million has also been signed,” he said.

Najib said the AirAsia had also become the first low-cost carrier outside China which had been granted a licence to operate in the republic with an investment of US$ 100 million.

He said Prime Minister Li Keqiang had given assurance that the China’s government would continue supporting Chinese companies to invest in Malaysia.

“Foreign investments such as this will certainly help our people as it would create higher-income and highly-skilled job opportunities.This is in line with our aspiration become a high income nation by 2020,” he said.

In terms of bilateral relations, Najib said President Xi had said that the Malaysia-China relation was currently at its best in history and that he appreciated Malaysia’s support for the OBOR initiative.

Malaysia has also benefited directly from it, such as in the financing of the construction of the East Coast Rail Line (ECRL) by the Exim Bank of China, he said.

“I also noted that China has increased its palm oil purchase from Malaysia upon my request during the visit last November. The government expects palm oil exports to China will rise much higher with the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Felda Global Ventures Holdings Bhd and Sinograin Oils Corp.

“This agreement will also provide access to midstream and downstream markets in China. I believe that more Malaysian companies will receive the benefits of the good relations between Malaysia and China’s top leadership,” he explained.

Meanwhile, the development of the Digital Free Trade Zone was also very encouraging with the signing of the MoU between Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation, Hangzhou Municipal Government and Alibaba (China) Company Limited.

Najib said he was confident that Malaysia would be able to develop the e-commerce industry through the initiative in which Malaysia would become the hub of digital economy in Southeast Asia with an estimated double-digit growth, while Hangzhou to become the hub in China, which is a good news for operators of small- and medium-scale entrepreneurs in the country.


BEIJING – San ren yi tiao xin, huang tu bian cheng jin. This is a Chinese proverb which says that if people are of one heart, even the yellow earth can become gold.

Making Malaysians a people of one heart — a united and confident society — is one of the biggest challenges for Malaysia to achieve the dream of becoming a fully-developed nation by 2020.

But there is hope. Malaysian Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak believes that China’s “Belt and Road” Initiative provides an enormous opportunity for Malaysia to achieve the status of a developed nation, particularly with the implementation of game-changing infrastructure projects resulting from the initiative.

“This is a wonderful opportunity for us to advance the Malaysian economy together with the Chinese economy,” he said to Malaysian journalists after attending the two-day Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation here.

Najib, however, is perturbed by the claims of some opposition politicians back home that the government is selling the country’s sovereignty by agreeing to projects mooted under the initiative.

“I make no apologies for wanting to build world-class infrastructure for Malaysia that will, with local ownership being preserved, open up huge swathes of our country, bringing more trade and opportunity to our people, thousands of new jobs, improved living standards and prosperity,” the Prime Minister wrote in his article titled ‘Why Malaysia Supports China’s Belt and Road’ that was published by the South China Morning Post on Thursday.

Malaysian Transport Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai said he was involved in the Kunming- Singapore railroad project many years ago but it could not take off as there was insufficient funding.

But with the low-cost funding from China, the project has been given a new lifeline.

Liow said there were no arm-twisting tactics or elements of coercion by the Chinese for participating countries to agree to certain proposals.

“It is just a loose arrangement, not rigid. It’s easy and many are comfortable with this kind of joint venture,” he said.

But the key element that helped create the trust and confidence of the Chinese business community was the close relationship between Najib and President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Leqiang.

President Xi told Najib that Malaysia is not just a neighbour but a trusted friend.

Najib said many Malaysian businessmen he met during his visit confided in him that it was much easier now to talk business with their Chinese counterparts.

It was Najib who visited China nine times since 2009 to secure the keys and now the doors are wide open for Malaysian businessmen to negotiate with their potential partners.

During the visit, Najib witnessed the signing of nine memorandums of understanding between Malaysian and Chinese companies with a total investment valued at RM30 billion.

It was all smiles during the signing ceremony, but one person was really beaming — none other than AirAsia Group CEO Tan Sri Tony Fernandes.

AirAsia signed a joint-venture agreement with Everbright Group and the Henan government to establish a low-cost carrier (LCC) with a base in the east-central city of Zhengzhou.

“This is a dream come true to have an opportunity to look at China with a very strong partner in Everbright.

“I’d never believed this would happen. We are all very excited as it is a big step forward for the AirAsia brand,” said Tony.

AirAsia (China) will also invest in aviation infrastructure, including a dedicated LCC terminal at Zhengzhou airport as well as an aviation academy to train pilots, crew and engineers.

AirAsia currently flies to 15 destinations in China.

While Tony Fernandes looks to China, Alibaba Group founder and executive chairman Jack Ma is expected to be in Malaysia again in early October for the launch of the e-fulfillment hub of the Digital Free Trade Zone (DFTZ).

DFTZ will begin operations using the Alibaba Cloud as an e-commerce platform.

Najib said DFTZ was expected to provide a double-digit growth which would contribute to the overall growth of Malaysia’s economy.

“Jack Ma wants to do a lot of things in Malaysia. He has designated Malaysia as the hub for his involvement in the digital economy for the Asean region,” he said.

Before arriving in Beijing on Thursday, Najib made a brief visit to Hangzhou where he met Jack Ma and went on a tour of the Alibaba headquarters.

Najib’s China visit is also bringing investments for Sabah and Sarawak.

Sarawak Chief Minister Datuk Amar Abang Johari Tun Openg witnessed the exchange of an MoU between Yayasan Hartanah Bumiputera Sarawak (YHBS) and a Chinese engineering consortium to develop a methanol and derivatives complex in Tanjung Kidurong, Bintulu.

The proposed plant, estimated to cost US$2 billion (RM8.6 billion), is expected to be completed by 2021.

Sabah will receive an investment of about US$132.5 million (RM572 million) to develop a mixed development project, The Shore, in Kota Kinabalu.

The Malaysian pineapple is also set to penetrate the China market.

And, that’s not all. Malaysian Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Shabery Cheek said efforts are being made to export the jackfruit and durian, especially the ‘musang king’ variety, to China.

One musang king is sold for about RM800 in Hong Kong while one kilogramme of the fruit can fetch RM200 in China.

Ahmad Shabery said he was striving to ensure that the musang king meets the requirements set by the Chinese authorities.

“Perhaps, it may be apt to refer to Malaysia-China relations as the durian diplomacy,” he said in jest.

Najib described the Belt and Road Initiative as a game-changer for the entire region and beyond.

Expanding the Kuantan port and connecting it with Port Klang via the East Coast Rail Line (ECRL) will mean exports from China, particularly Shenzhen, will bypass the busy Singapore port to get to the Straits of Melaka.

In other words, once completed, the ECRL will become an alternative route for goods passing through the South China Sea and the Straits of Melaka.

The opportunities are abundant. Now is the time to “dig the well before we get thirsty”.


PUTRAJAYA -Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak has accepted an invitation from the Saudi Arabian government to attend the Arab, Islamic and US Summit on May 21 in Riyadh, Arab Saudi.

The invitation was conveyed to Najib by Saudi Arabia s Culture and Information Minister Dr Awwad Salleh Al-Awwad during a courtesy call on the prime minister at his office in Perdana Putra, here, today.

A Foreign Ministry spokesman here said United States President Donald Trump and leaders of other Islamic countries were also expected to attend the one-day summit.

The summit would discuss security and terrorism, among the issues, the spokesman said.

Awwad Salleh who arrived in Malaysia yesterday, will leave for Indonesia today and then for Brunei to also extend the same invitation to the leaders of both countries.


SHAH ALAM – Malaysia’s future depends on continued political and social stability which, in turn, hinges on interfaith harmony among Malaysians, said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.

He noted that the existence of interfaith harmony was premised on mutual understanding and mutual respect.

“This is among the intrinsic values that we need to propagate and strengthen,” he said at a tea reception marking national Wesak Day celebration here yesterday.

Najib said the country’s founding fathers and all the others had not only laid the foundation of the constitution but also the values and political basis for generations of Malaysians after them to forge interfaith harmony.

This, he said, should be applied towards greater unity among all Malaysians, he said.

Among those in attendance at today’s event were Transport Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai and Malaysia Buddhist Association vice-president Sit Chan Liang.

In the course of the speech, Najib praised Buddhists who gathered for the reception for remaining silent as the Muslim call to Asar prayer was heard.

“This is an example of how we show mutual respect. You gentlemen who profess Buddhism showed respect to the Azan (call to prayer) which is very close to the hearts of Muslims.

“I thank you for showing respect to other religions,” he said to applause from the crowd.

Najib reckoned that Malaysia was unique thanks to its links to the great civilisations of Asia that existed in the Malay Archipelago, China and India.

Malaysia, he said, had benefited from all the teachings, learnings, values, cultures, religions and languages from such great civilisations.

Najib said he had just undertaken a successful visit to India, and in not more that 24 hours he would be in China for another visit.

“All these visits cannot be successful without us being the model of a country that is united in diversity,” the prime minister said.

He said that Malaysia commanded the respect of many countries throughout the years as it was an exemplary nation in many respects.

“We do not have the tension, conflict, violence that other countries are undergoing,” Najib said, adding that Malaysia was viewed by many as a land of peace and harmony.

“So let’s ensure this will continue in the future…it’s important for us to remind ourselves of the strong values that our respective religions bring,” Najib said.

Citing the example of Buddhism, he said it was renowned for compassion, commitment to peace and harmony, helping the poor and underprivileged and one that rejected extremism and violence.

Najib drove home the point that Malaysians should not let themselves be influenced by extremist elements in society.

The prime minister urged Malaysians to support each other to ensure a stronger and better Malaysia.

“I cannot do it alone as prime minister, the government and the civil society cannot do it alone, but together, we can,” he said.

“If we commit ourselves to working together on the basis of mutual respect and understanding, and we believe in interfaith harmony, be moderate at heart, become true to our religion, reject extremism and choose our words wisely, there will be a kinder and gentler Malaysian society,” he said.

Meanwhile, in scenes repeated across the country, devotees thronged temples such as the Buddhist Maha Vihara temple in Brickfields in Kuala Lumpur to mark the occasion.

Despite the erratic weather throughout the day, they continued to come from as early as 6am to offer prayers at the 123-year-old temple.

Neoh Lik Hoey, 38, a temple volunteer for more than 10 years, said this year’s celebration was upbeat and vibrant despite the lack of space due to one of the main buildings undergoing reconstruction.

Wesak Day is the most important day in the Buddhism calendar. It marks the birth, enlightenment and passing of Gautama Buddha on whose teachings Buddhism was founded.

Buddhists commemorate the auspicious day by, among others, fasting and eating vegetarian food, offering prayers, giving alms to the needy and donating blood as well as indulging in self-reflection and supplication.


PUTRAJAYA – The three intertwined principles of Wala’ (Loyalty), Wasatiyyah (Moderation) and Tabayyun (Understanding) if practised properly, will embody a perfect cycle between the leaders and those being led for the survival of a nation that craves progress and ultimate success according to Islamic interpretation, said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.

He said Wala’ carried the values of love, obedience, and allegiance to a legitimate leadership and the institutions which they represent.

“While the practice of Wala’ and loyalty to the leadership of the government, in the perspective of Malaysia, for more than six decades, has been balanced with the practice of moderation,” he said at the 2017 International Wasatiyyah Seminar “Fiqh Wala’ and Obedience: Their Role in Prospering the Nation” here, tonight.

“In Malaysia, we are fairly balanced, moderate, fair and equitable and do not practice extreme dictatorship which can lead to excesses and blind obsession, in turn leading to an extremist ideology or creed,” he explained.

He said that in some parts of the world, Muslims had fallen trap to misunderstanding the concept of Jihad, such as terrorist groups like Daesh, so much so they were willing to act outside the limitations of syura councils (highest decision making bodies or Islamic organisations) or democracy, to overthrow of the legitimate government chosen by the people.

“That’s why we do not want people in this country – without being guided by the principles of Wala’ and Wasatiyyah as outlined by Islam – to be lost or diverted to become too open and liberal, so much so they are willing to adopt a Machiavellian culture,” he said.

He said that as the leader and head of the government, he was open to others’ views and accepted constructive criticism.

“However, any form of criticism should not be coupled with defamation, insults or slander that serves to disgrace and harm the reputation of a leader,” he said.

He said it was in line with the concept of ‘Tabayyun’ which means to investigate and understand a piece of information carefully, before believing it and deciding to pass it on.

“When each one of us understands properly the three intertwined principles of Wala’-Wasatiyyah-Tabayyun’, no matter what the challenges are which lie ahead, we as the ‘ummah’ (nation) will be able to remain par excellence, or ‘Khayra Ummah’, revered by friends and foes alike,” he said.

The prime minister said Wala’ was an obligatory concept to be practised by members in an organisation, or in a broader perspective, the Malaysians at large towards the government, because all the efforts and initiatives undertaken by the country’s administration was in the best interests of the people.

“This means, it is improbable for a government like Malaysia to be despotic or burden the people and the country,” he said.

Najib said the present government always called for ‘maaruf’ (kindness), while trying to prevent ‘munkar’ (evil).

“Hence, the ulamas (Islamic shcolars) are of the opinion, in Malaysia’s situation today, Wala’ is required…to be given to the Barisan Nasional government helmed by UMNO. What’s more, the present government has always been chosen through the legal democratic system.

He said that the government was doing so much for the people, especially in terms of addressing the rising cost of living.

Among them, he said, were the various forms of assistance given by the government such as the 1Malaysia People’s Aid (BR1M), Housing Project for the Hardcore Poor, Affordable Housing scheme, 1Malaysia Civil Servants Housing (PPA1M), 1Malaysia People’s Housing (PR1MA), 1Malaysia Clinics, 1Malaysia People’s Shops, and modern public transport system for workers, especially in the B40 (those in the lower income bracket) and M40 (lower middle class) target groups.

The three-day seminar organised by Institut Wasatiyyah Malaysia (IWM), which began Tuesday, is being attended by over 700 local and international delegates with seven sessions involving the presentation of 16 papers, among them by Deputy Sheikh of Egypt’s Al-Azhar Institute Prof Dr Abbas Syuman and Prof Dr Abdul al-Naseer Abu Al-Basal from Yarmouk University in Irbid, Jordan.


KOTA KINABALU- Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak and his wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor, attended the wedding reception of the daughter of Communications and Multimedia Minister Datuk Seri Dr Salleh Said Keruak Saturday night.

Najib who arrived at Salleh’s residence in Likas here at about 8.30pm and was greeted by Salleh and his wife Datin Seri Raya Erom.

The Prime Minister flew here directly this afternoon after attending the 30th Asean Summit in Manila.

Also present were Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman and his wife Datin Seri Faridah Tussin.

At the ceremony Najib and Rosmah sprinkled scented water on the wedded couple Syazeera Salleh, 27, and her husband Mohd Syafiee Izuddin Mohd Hanan, 28.

Other guests who participated in the ‘tepung tawar ceremony (sprinkling scented water to bless newly-wedded couples) were Dewan Rakyat speaker Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia and his wife Puan Sri Hadijah Teng Abdullah.

Local celebrities Hans Isaac and Vanidah Imran emceed the event which was attended by over 1,000 guests.

Popular entertainers Datuk Jamal Abdillah, Datuk Siti Nurhaliza, Saleem, Dayang Nurfaizah, Sabah singer Jimmy Palikat and Bintang RTM 2016 winner Rosario were also present to entertain the crowd.

Syazeera, an interior designer, is the second of four siblings, while Mohd Syafiee, an engineer, is the third child of five siblings.

The couple’s marriage was solemnised by Salleh himself in a private ceremony held on April 28.


MANILA – Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak hopes the more aggressive stand taken by Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte against extremists such as the Abu Sayyaf in the southern Philippines will improve the security in that region.

I congratulate the government of the Philippines for having successfully killed a Abu Sayyaf leader two days ago.

With the more agressive action taken by President Duterte, we hope security in the southern Philippines will be improved, he told Malaysian journalists after the ASEAN Summit 2017 here.

According to some reports, the Philippines Marines had killed a commander of the extremist Abu Sayyaf, Alhabsy Misaya.

The Prime Minister said he had also expressed his gratitude to President Duterte for helping to rescue five Malaysian hostages kidnapped by the Abu Sayyaf for eight months ad one week.

Najib said Malaysia has also committed to continue assisting in the process to conclude the Comprehensive Peace Plan involving the bangsa moro.

In addition, he said the issue of terrorism had also drew attention at the summit in which Malaysia said the country s contribution, including the radicalisation programme had achieved a high level of success.

This success shows that we can also contribute as we have a digital counter messaging centre. As such it must have the support and backing of the ASEAN countries in the fight against the militant threat and violent extremism more effectively, he added.


MANILA – Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak today took 45 minutes off from his busy schedule here to visit Naah!im Bakery, a Malaysian-owned enterprise in Manila.

“This is the kind of entrepreneur we want to support. They are young entrepreneurs. We should encourage more young entrepreneurs to try and be more adventurous.

“They have recovered their capital within nine months,”Najib said.

Located in Belmont Hotel at the center of Manila’s Entertainment Center, Resorts World, Naah!im Bakery started as a conceptual idea in bringing varieties of food and beverage particularly Boulangerie, Western and Asian delicacies to all the major cities in the continent.

It serves almost 50 types of bread that changes daily on the bread counter.

“To be honest, we also serve Malaysian food as well.

“I think we are the first to introduce Malaysian food here, replied Ungku Raad Azeraai Bin Ungku Mohd, 39, a partner in the bakery, to the prime minister when asked how they made themselves distinctive.

He also explained that the types of bread they served was totally different from what was available in the market.

It is understood that Ungku Raad and his three other partners, Ahmad Ferman bin Tjandra Ahmad, Mohd Kurniawan Naim bin Moktar and Mohd Farez bin Yusof planned to spread their wings further in the Philippines.

Meanwhile, in his Facebook posting Najib praised the four young entrepreneurs by uploading a picture of the appetizing items served in the bakery with a caption saying “”Supporting four young entrepreneurial Malaysians who have opened a very successful bakery in Metro Manila and samples of their pastries (with a thumbs-up emoji sign)”